The emergence of new technologies and associated techniques in the communication industry has led to boundless interactivity across the globe as well as the manipulation of photos, videos, data, and messages to influence the audience’s cognitive processes, which tend to present false or misleading claims as news. With intent to cause outrage and shock, social media users share information on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of platforms without question. Most countries with a closed-system like Nigeria brand news gathered through the platforms as fake news because of their anti-government policies/actions, thereby making social media users engendered species. Although, a new concept, scholars and media practitioners have adduced six theoretical propositions for comprehending and isolating fake news. This paper evaluates these propositions using the EndSARS 2020 protest in Nigeria to find out which of the social media and government accounts of the rally are fake news; and whether social media is a veritable platform for newsgathering considering its vulnerability to technological manipulation. Logical inquiry, a survey of the literature, and ex post facto methods of data gathering, and trend analysis were adopted by this researcher, for purposes of inference. The results of the study validate part of existing theoretical propositions; reveal government account of the EndSARS protest as fake news; and social media as a relatively veritable source of newsgathering.
Joseph Wogu, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria